ok, this is probably the LAST thing I’m going to post on this subject. So here it is:
Tiny has had a ton of experience with CG and film effects in general, he has taught at sheridan college in the advanced computer animation and fx course and has been involved in many pertinant projects.
I’d like to make some observations about the photo of bag end and say that it in fact could be a photo (as for pete’s sake, I think it is!).
First of all, ID4’s observations. The chimneys shadow looks pretty bang on for the shape of the hill, if you notice, the hill has a lip and it follows it to a tee.
Cyan – I don’t know what shadow he is talking about, but if it is the gates, you can see that the actual gate is off the ground which causes the shadow to be farther back than the bottom of the gate. If it’s the darker splotch on the ground, well, if you take a look at what the *real* man is doing in the photo (remember, it was snuck, not a promotional peice) he’s busy planting plants. What do you do when you are planting plants, but pour water into the hole, lots of it. The ground tends to get saturated with water, and we all know that when dry dirt gets wet, it gets darker. You can actually see the hose just infront of his closest leg and to the left of that.
Blue – I am pretty sure the gate has texture, but at the resolution and what compression the image has been trough I am sure the sublte details have been lost. Plus, when something is in shadow, texture tends not to show as much because the light doesn’t vary of the surface as much. I am pretty sure that man is inthe photo, he’s happily planting away, unless the final film will have those fresh from the store look plants just sitting, dying above ground, just right of his head. The glow on his leg is actually rim or back lighting, in CG we call it global illumination or radiosty effects where light energy causes a nice soft rim, it co incides with the direction of the sun. Again, if you think it’s CG because of the size of the doors, what about the size of the actual house and the chimney. If I remember correctly, a lot of the concept work for the film is being done by john howe, take a look at the one painting of his from inside a hobbit’s hole looking out into the shire, notice how big the door is – he’s the concept guy, get it? Plus, the extra area that the dimensions of the circle adds to the door makes it look bigger.
Last but not least, if they we’re taking this image in secret, would they not be farther away than what appears, could the actual camera have had a telephoto lense on it? I really don’t think the location of the photographer was from the perceived vantage point of the photo.
I think the physical effects crew are doing a great job! The sets look wonderful.
BTW – with there being so many other aspects of the films being done digitally, why would the film makers go through the trouble of producing the shire as all CG, maybe for a long shot but for close ups, especially a shot like this, wouldn’t you think it would be easier for the actors to act within the natural environment – unless of course you’d like the movie to look like EP1. All the roto work and matte pulling would take a team of at least 10 folks, and out of the 80 that is said to be the talent count for the weta digital team, I don’t think they could afford 10 folks just pulling mattes and pushing splines around the screen.
Another note -> as nice as the image that was an example of something made to look real in CG (the one with the house infront of the trees) – it exhibits one of the key problems of lighting a CG scene, solid black hard shadows. You would at least see some colour in the shadows on the yellow slats at the front of the house (take a look at the shadows of the trees in the background and the nice soft transparent shadow it casts on the ground).
To check out the pics, head on over to the Spy Reports, SPOILER WARNING!